After months of rigorous campaign, the 14 aspirants jostling for the presidential ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in next year’s election will submit themselves for assessment today in Abuja.
Their fate will be determined by 811 ad hoc delegates of the party. A total 774 delegates, one per local government area, were elected at the local government congresses of the party weeks ago.
The 37 others, who are people with disability, were nominated by the state chapters and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). Each state nominated a delegate in this category.
The party said last night that it would go ahead with today’s primaries regardless of the six-day grace granted all the parties by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct their shadow elections.
The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) last night decided to take advantage of the window of opportunity offered by INEC by shifting its presidential primaries from tomorrow, May 29 to Monday , June 6 – Wednesday, June 8.
Barring any last minute withdrawal, the PDP aspirants contesting today’s primary election are ex-Vice President Atiku Abubakar; a former Senate President, Bukola Saraki; Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State; a former governor of Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose; and the only female aspirant, Teriela Oliver.
Others are Governors Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto); Bala Mohammed (Bauchi); Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom); and an investment banker and economist, Mohammed Hayatu-Deen.
Also in the race are a former Senate President, Pius Anyim; ex-President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, Sam Ohuabunwa; the Publisher Ovation Magazine, Dele Momodu; Charles Ugwu and Chikwendu Kalu.
All the aspirants were locked in marathon strategic meetings last night to earn more confidence and votes of delegates who have arrived in Abuja since Wednesday.
Determined to win, Atiku spent yesterday making calls to more than 80 per cent of the delegates with a plea to give him another chance.